THESE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS ABOUT THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA


October 31, 2010

Steve Miller Elvin Bishop & Sammy Hagar Jamming

From the ’49ers of the Gold Rush days thru The Bohemians, The Beatniks, The Haight Ashbury scene of the late ’60s, The Castro in the ’70s, the growth of Wineries to the North Bay and on, the San Francisco Bay Area has always welcomed the cultural cutting edge.

The world has many capitals, and we live in one of them.  This is where North meets South, East meets West, and all cultures and cultural diversity collide.  We are the end point where all directions end and many things begin.  One of my favorites of all these movements is the music that has come out of and musicians that have come to San Francisco over the years.
On Tuesday night, October 26th, Joel Selvin had a book release party at Slim’s Nightclub in San Francisco.  Smart Ass is a collection of his SF Chronicle music columns, and a collection of musical friends showed up on stage as well as in the audience.  On stage was The Steve Miller Blues Band with Audie Delone and John Allair on Keyboards, Hutch Hutchinson on Bass and Ricky Fataar on drums.  Playing with them, the great Elvin Bishop, who like Steve, moved out here after migrating to Chicago to become young apprentices in Chi-town’s famous Blues scene. In the first set, Saxophonist John Handy jammed with Steve and his band.  In the second set, Sammy Hagar joined in on guitar and vocals.
After the 24th Bridge School benefit, the 24th Annual B.R. Cohn Charity Fall Music Festival, I’m reminded once again why we are all blessed to be here, and ocassionally witness wonderful Great Live Moments.

 

DAVID BOWIE’S ZIGGY STARDUST ALBUM


August 19, 2010

This is dedicated to Mark, the bartender at Bloom’s Bar, “downtown” Potrero Hill on 18th Street in San Francisco when I dropped by there after work last Monday night.

They’ve always had a great jukebox at Bloomies, and a song from David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust came on. I asked who selected “Starman,” and it turned out to be Mark! The beautiful thing is, he wasn’t even born when the album was released in 1972.  It reminded me about my early days as a teenage DJ. (Cue flashback sfx here and warp the video…see young man with long hair and beard driving a new gray Volvo 164 cross country to San Francisco, then in Los Angeles a year later.)

At the FM Rock Stations in the Bay Area, we used to champion bands and sometimes try to beat each other to play a new artist or album first and exclusively. When I moved here from NYC, there were five progressive rock stations; KSAN, KSFX and KMPX in San Francisco, plus KSJO and KOME in San Jose.  After four years of college radio, I applied at all of them, and was given encouragement by one Program Director (who did hire me a year later), but no gig.  My brother Stuart was a grad student at Stanford at the time, so I volunteered at 90.1, KZSU.  Within six months, I became the station’s Music Director.

On a trip to LA that May, to get familiar with the hub of the music biz and visit the record company offices, I was listening to the Blaupunkt radio in my Volvo, driving down Sunset Blvd., when one of the DJs played a track from the new David Bowie album.  Bowie was still rather unknown, but the cover of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars showed him standing on the street under a sign that said K-WEST…which was something the Los Angeles FM Rock station of the same name was proud of and instantly gave it a spin.  I was blocks from the RCA Records office, so I drove right over and went up to their floor.  At the front desk when I identified myself, a woman told me that the record reps were out to lunch.  Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted the open door to a record closet off the reception area, with about 50 copies of the new David Bowie album sitting on the floor.  I wheeled around, picked up two of them, and as the stunned woman tried to sputter a “Wa..wa..wa..wait!,” I jumped back into on of the elevators, pushed the button to the lobby, and as the doors closed said; “When they come back, please tell them I was here, and I took two of them.”

That night, I drove back up Interstate 5 to Palo Alto, and played the whole album on my show on KZSU Stanford when I got back…before it had even been shipped to anyone else.  In October of that year, David Bowie played Bill Graham’s Winterland.  Maybe 500 people were in the crowd, and most of them to see Sylvester, a San Francisco Drag Queen singing with his band.  I enjoyed watching the jaws of their fans drop when David Bowie came out on stage in his glam-rock inspiring Ziggy persona, with Mick Ronson and the bass and drums shaking the old hall.  That band ROCKED!!

Thank you, Mark for proving what my radio mentor John Bybee has long said; “With music, like cars, it’s not when it was, it’s what it is that makes it a classic.”

 

Our Sponsors:


Lavish Custom Technology Solutions
1044 4th Street
707-595-2020


Green Tech Automotive
501 Barham Ave.
707-545-7076


PrismaCon
1600 Piner Road
707-595-3086


World-Class Wines & Olive Oils BR Cohn Winery
Join the BR Cohn Wine Club
Atttend BR Cohn Winery Events


North Bay’s Classic Rock97.7 The River
97.7 The River is the show’s flagship radio station. It’s home base to the program every Sunday, 10 am – 3 pm, hosted by legendary radio personality Paul “The Lobster” Wells.